Meet your AU Officer
Do you ever wonder what all the different positions are in SUSU? We want to make things clearer for you so you’re aware of the different officials who work or volunteer here. We have 7 Sabbatical Officers, 33 Student Leaders, 4 Student Trustees and 41 Councillors, who all play a massive part in the running and improving of SUSU so that students have a better time at the University of Southampton.
We’ll be releasing Q&A’s of individual Student Leaders, Councillors and Student Trustee, so you can find out more about them and their role! If you didn’t already know, Evan Whyte was our VP Sports Development for 2013/14. A Sabbatical position is a full time job so Evan took a year out to work between his second and third year of studying Law. Now that Evan will be returning to his academic studies, completing his final year, he is going to continue his involvement in SUSU as he has been elected as AU Officer. Find out more about Evan and his plans for 2014/15.
Evan Whyte – Athletic Union Officer
Tell us a bit about yourself, Evan.
This will be my fourth year at Southampton! So I have been around for a while and know the Union and the University reasonably well. As you said, I was last year’s VP Sports and I will take on the role of AU Officer for 14/15. Alongside that I am the treasurer of the University Football Club and the President of the Connaught (halls of residence) Football Club. Apart from sport, I like to play poker and watch films. I also take an interest in politics.
What are you favourite sports?
I mainly play/do three sports: Football, Cricket and Karate. I enjoy football and cricket the most but I am better at Karate. If I had to choose, I’d say Football. I love to play and watch it more than any other sport.
You seem like a sporty guy, what interested you to study Law over a subject involving sports?
I never had a sporting degree in my mind at any point to be honest. I have always wanted to be a lawyer (or a professional footballer – but I knew that wasn’t going to happen!) and at Southampton it is very easy to continue playing sport alongside your degree, so that was the happy medium for me.
Considering you were VP Sports Development last year, what encouraged you to run for AU Officer? Are you worried that you won’t have the resources or power that you had as VP at all?
Being a sabbatical takes over your life, especially as the VP Sports, because even when you are relaxing and doing your hobby, you will get questions from team-mates etc. It means that you spend nearly all of your time doing the role. Even on your nights out you have AU clubs coming up to you asking questions about fixtures, transport and money. But, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I was really proud of the changes we made. In a way, it would have been hard to completely step back, so I wanted to be in a position where I could see projects through and still impact the student experience. In terms of having less power, I don’t think it will be a problem at all as I have a LOT of work to do this year, so it will be nice to not have the pressures that go with the influence.
In general, how do you think students of Southampton University perceive SUSU?
I think it differs greatly between the different types of students. I think there is a lot of confusion as to what the University does and what SUSU does – this was one of the biggest issues we had with Sports clubs last year. On the whole, I think the view is a positive one. But I think the union has to make a conscious effort to not be over-bearing and be seen as the ‘fun-police’. Other than that, I think people respect what the Union does (as we do huge amounts) but as we most things, people want more and we have to improve as expectation grows.
What are the three main things that you’d like to achieve by the end of your term?
I’d love to see a University wide policy which enables students more flexibility in how they can learn and when they can learn, so that they can decide whether or not they want to represent the University in their chosen sport. Recorded lectures and flexible seminar/tutorial groups would really help us achieve this. Improving and building the Team Southampton brand and community. It was a huge achievement to finally create a unified sports brand last year but the strategies and plans written by the zone dictate that this needs to be embedded across campus so that every student feels a part of Team Southampton.
The third aim – retain the Varsity cup!
If you could give a piece of SUSU related advice to Southampton Uni students, what would it be?
My advice would be to get involved in some of SUSU’s student groups. There is so much to choose from and so many things to try that there should be something for everyone. You will meet some of your best friends and it is important to spend time away from your degree to make sure you enjoy your time here.
Do you have any media streams that students can follow?
I’m on Facebook and twitter (@EvanALWhyte)
Words: Mayan Al-Shakarchy